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  • Kim Delchamps
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Serving: Advancing God’s Kingdom in the World

Serving: Advancing God’s Kingdom in the World

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” These are the words of Jesus to the apostles in Acts 1:8 just before His ascension.  Southwood’s Vision is “To advance the Kingdom of God in our lives, homes, church, community and world” which is a reflection of Acts 1:8. Our own “Jerusalem” is Huntsville; the US, bordering countries and the world is our “Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Think about it; our existence as Christ’s church can be traced through the missional obedience of saints who preceded us for centuries that did NOT originate in our nation. They took Christ’s words and lived them, bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to foreign lands. Many laid down their very lives so that a church might be established and people called from darkness to light to worship the true God and Creator. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus makes it very clear that we are to be about making disciples of all nations. That is our mission.

It is vitally important that we keep Christ’s mission focus here in Huntsville. God has called us to be salt and light where we live, work and play, but it can’t just stop there. The question might be asked, “Shouldn’t we wait until we have been missionally established on the home front before endeavoring to do so abroad?” No. It is both/and. We don’t wait for one to establish the other but each should feed and fuel the other. We have the best news and the greatest gift that could ever be received or given. Even in our national economic crises, God has blessed us with resources that are uncommon from a global perspective. If God has blessed us to be a blessing (Gen 12:1-3); if our heart’s cry is to echo the psalmist “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!  Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, …” (Ps 67:3,4), we should be pleading with the Father for the nations and our ministries and personal involvement should reflect it. 

At the end of 2007, Southwood’s Missions Committee was charged with defining a global ministry approach that gives greater focus to fewer areas (allowing more effective application of resources) and helps our congregation become more personally and corporately involved in what God is doing globally. Part of this task involved identifying specific geographic locations, defining an approach and then aligning the missions budget accordingly. The end result was not a reduction to our missions budget but a realignment for greater focus.

While we will continue to support various missionaries and ministries, a greater degree of financial, personal and corporate involvement will be in our focus areas. Our domestic focus area and church plant is Lincoln Village here in Huntsville. Our initial foreign focus area is slated to be Monterrey, Mexico with Cusco/Santo Tomas, Peru being prayerfully considered and researched (this being a church plant among a virtually unreached people group). Why these locations? Your Missions Committee labored for months evaluating locations where we currently support missionaries involved in church planting and mercy ministry and were geographically, financially and politically accessible for congregational involvement. These criteria were very important as we sought our Lord for focus. Since Southwood’s youth ministry has been actively engaged in Peru and Mexico during the summers, these are people groups we have come to love and cultures in which we are becoming accustomed to ministering.  With the help of our own denomination, we were led to the two opportunities mentioned below.

Monterrey, MEXICO
—In January 2009, Southwood sent a vision team to further investigate and research a partnership between MTW Monterrey/National Presbyterian Church in Mexico and Southwood. Mission to the World (MTW) is our denomination’s foreign mission agency (http://www.mtw.org).  Opportunities abound for partnering with our Mexican brethren in ministry through church planting, mercy ministry, sports, business and even an orphanage. Plans are being made for a short-term mission trip to Monterrey during Spring 2010. More info to come; but, if curiosity is getting the best of you, contact Southwood’s Missions Department to learn more.

Santo Tomas & Cusco, PERU
—On Oct. 26 – Nov. 1, 2009, a four-person team from Southwood (one of whom was your iPastor Ken Leggett) took a vision trip to Peru to further investigate and research our potential partnership with MTW’s Hinterland Ministry to Quechua Indians.  This possibility has church planting as its central focus with ministries of mercy as a tangible demonstration of the love of Christ to the Indians. More information to follow as we hear from the vision team.

Missions Resources:
http://www.mtw.org ­— Mission to the World (MTW) is the foreign mission agency for our denomination, The Presbyterian Church in America. 

Operation World: Updated and Revised 2005 by Patrick Johnstone & Jason Mandryk

Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper

Window on the World by Daphne Spraggett with Jill Jonhstone (a book for children)

The Missions Committee has also established values by which Southwood’s local and global ministries will be directed: Southwood seeks to express Christ’s love in our community, country and world through congregational involvement in 1)fostering discipleship and spiritual growth, 2) participating in mercy missions and 3) building vibrant, nationally-led, reformed churches.  How can you be involved with this and our focus areas?  PRAY, GIVE AND GO!

that as a congregation, we would not only understand what the Great Commission is all about, but that it would shape how we live; God using us to impact the nations for Christ and our involvement as part of God’s instrument in molding us. 

PRAY that as Christ followers, we might have God’s heart for the nations; see the world through His perspective

PRAY for God to be glorified among the nations through the planting of faithful churches that serve in word and deed in our focus areas.

for our missionaries that they would exemplify Christ before the nationals they minister among, that they would be encouraged by other Christ followers, strengthened by the Holy Spirit and supported through the supply God has appointed for them to accomplish what He has called them to. 

GIVE of your resources to help make it possible for others to advance God’s kingdom in foreign lands.

GIVE to Southwood’s youth and adults who sacrifice their time and resources to minister on short-term mission trips.

of your time in writing letters or sending care packages to your missionaries. 

GO on at least one short-term mission trip outside of the United States. This is not just to be part of what God is doing globally to advance His kingdom;t is also that God might change, shape and mold you into the likeness of His Son.

GO as a career missionary. Yes, that’s right!  Be open to what God may do in your life. Be open to the suggestion from others that you might prayerfully consider serving as a missionary.

If you would like to know more about any of our missionaries in order to pray for them or give financially or if you are prayerfully considering serving the Lord abroad full-time or short-term, please contact Southwood’s Missions Department (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 256-882-3085 x136).